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ACC Midterm Grades: Virginia Tech

Photo Courtesy of Virginia Tech Athletics

It is past the halfway mark in the ACC conference slate which means it's time for midterm grades to go out on all 14 ACC teams. We start with the Virginia Tech Hokies, who currently sit in a tie for second with Duke and Virginia in the Coastal Division.

The Hokies are 24-10 overall and sit three games behind first place North Carolina in the division at 11-7 in the ACC. A favorable slate to start conference play against the likes of Notre Dame, Louisville, and Pitt have seen the Hokies enter the Top 25, but recent stumbles that include a home sweep to Wake Forest and a road series loss in Atlanta to Georgia Tech has raised concerns about the true quality of the team.

Offense: A-

For the last few years, Virginia Tech has been known as the Hammerin’ Hokies, and for good reason. They lead the ACC with 71 home runs on the year. CBC All Star and Preseason All American Carson DeMartini has accounted for 15 of those, which is good to be third in the ACC. Eight of their nine regulars hit over .300 and have an .OPS of .950 or better. The offense has barely missed a beat after losing star first baseman Garret Michel to a season ending wrist injury early in the season. D3 transfer Ben Watson and GW transfer Eddie Micheletti Jr have play large parts in mitigating that loss of production in the lineup.

There were concerns about the catching position following the departure of Brody Donay in the offseason, but each of Gehrig Ebel, Henry Cooke, and freshman David McCann have impressed. The trio have combined for 14 doubles, 2 triples, and 21 home runs on the year and Cooke was named a CBC All Star for his efforts.  

Rotation: B

The 2023 Hokies suffered from significant pitching woes, which played a big factor in Tech missing the postseason despite their impressive offensive numbers. This year, however, Virginia Tech has been able to rely on consistent pitching and it starts with the bullpen. Brett Renfrow, Wyatt Parliament, and Griffin Stieg have started every single weekend of the season and consistently performed. Renfrow is the Friday night starter as a freshman and sports a 5-1 record with a 3.75 ERA and 51 strikeouts. Parliament, a transfer from Rutgers, has been roughed up in his last two outings to bloat his ERA but has been very impressive most of the year. And Griffin Stieg, a sophomore returner, has broken out and made the Sunday rotation spot his own.

Bullpen: B

Much like the starting rotation, the bullpen is also vastly improved for the Hokies. The underrated star has been Jacob Exum, who has a 1.08 ERA and one save in 16.2 innings of work. Speaking of work, the Hokies have relied heavily on Brady Kirtner and Grant Manning in relief this year, and they’ve handled the job well. Kirtner is 5-0 with a 4.50 ERA and two saves in 24 innings pitched while Manning is 1-0 with a 4.57 ERA in 21.2 innings pitched. Jordan Little, who transferred from East Carolina, has dazzled at times as the team’s closer. He leads the Hokies with 5 saves in 12.1 innings of work.

Overall: B+

Virginia Tech, despite recent disappointments over the last two weekends in ACC play, are the surprise team in the conference this season. With a power offense and competent pitching, they should be able to make the NCAA Tournament. But outside of a home series with Miami, the Hokies face a daunting conference schedule down the stretch that includes a showdown with #7 Duke this weekend and trips to #10 North Carolina and #8 Virginia. A poor performance in the latter half of this season could see the Hokies miss the tournament.

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